Turns, Footwork and Connecting Elements
Figure Skating Turns
In figure skating, a turn is a change in direction on the ice or skating surface from forward to backward or backward to forward. Figure skating turns are an important part of the sport for creating dances and connecting jumps and spins in programs for basic, intermediate or advanced level skaters They are part of the advanced figure skating moves testing and are even used as the entrance to certain jumps.
Some figure skating turns are completed on one foot and others are completed by a change of foot. Since there are eight "edges" in figure skating there are eight possible variations for one foot turns and four for two foot turns. A turn may include a change of edge and/or a change of lobe..
A mohawk is an ice skating turn that is done from same edge to same edge, from either forward to backward or backward to forward. The edges before and after the turn are on the same lobe – from one foot to the other in which the entry and exit curves are continuous and of equal depth. The change of foot is from an outside edge to an outside edge or from an inside edge to an inside edge.
Open Mohawk – A mohawk in which the heel of the free foot is placed on the ice at the inner side of the skating foot, the angle between the two feet behind optional. Following the weight transfer, the immediate position of the new free foot is behind the heel of the new skating foot.
Closed Mohawk – A mohawk in which the instep of the free foot is held at the heel of the skating foot until the free foot is placed on the ice behind the heel of the skating foot. Following the weight transfer, the immediate position of the new free foot is in front of the new skating foot.
Swing Mohawk – An open or closed mohawk in which the free leg swings forward closely past the skating leg and then back to the skating foot to execute the turn.
A turn from one foot to the other in which the curve of the exit edge is opposite to that of the entry edge. The change of foot is from outside edge to inside edge or inside edge to outside edge. Unless otherwise specified in the dance description, the free foot is placed on the ice close to the skating foot. The entry and exit edge are of equal depth.
Open Choctaw – A choctaw in which the free foot is placed on the ice at the inner side of the skating foot. Following the weight transfer the immediate position of the new free foot is behind the heel of the new skating foot.
Closed Choctaw – A choctaw in which the instep of the free foot is held at the heel of the skating foot until the free foot is placed on the ice behind the heel of the skating foot. Following the weight transfer the immediate position of the new free foot is in front of the new skating foot.
Swing Choctaw – An open or closed choctaw in which the free leg swings forward closely past the skating leg and then back to the skating foot to execute the turn.
Cross Open Choctaw – A choctaw in which the outside of the free foot is held in front of and at right angles to the skating foot. This hip is open after the turn. It may be wide-stepped.
A thee turn is usually the first turn that a figure skater learns. A three turn is completed on one foot. The ice skate blade makes the pattern of a "3" on the ice. Three turns are done from either an outside edge to an inside edge, or an inside edge to an outside edge.
Three – A turn executed on one foot from an outside edge to an inside edge or an inside edge to an outside edge, with the exit curve continuing on the same lobe as the entry curve. The skater turns in the direction of the curve.
Dropped Three – A three turn in which the weight is almost immediately transferred (“dropped”) to the free foot as it becomes the skating foot for the next step.
Quick Dropped Three – A rotational movement performed so rapidly that it takes place almost on the same spot or within one beat of music. The Turn is made from a forward outside three to the backward outside edge of the opposite foot, then the skater immediately steps forward onto the original foot. Such a sequence may be skated with forward or backward, inside or outside three turns.
Waltz Three – A three turn skated with the free leg extended close to the ice, and the tow and hip well turned out and held over the tracing. The instep of the free foot is then drawn close to the heel of the skating foot as the turn is made. After the turn the free foot is extended and held ahead of the tracing before being brought back beside the skating foot in time for the next step.
A bracket turn is completed on one foot. The tracing the ice skate blade makes on the ice after the turn is completed points outward. The body rotation is counter to the natural direction of progress causing the cusp to print outward from the center of the lobe curvature. The edge before and after the turn is on the same lobe.
A counter is completed on one foot from a forward to backward or backward to forward edge. The move is completed on an inside to inside edge or an outside to outside edge. The rotation of the body in this turn is counter to the natural direction of the curve made by the edge, so the top of the turn points out.
A rocker starts like a three turn, but unlike a three turn, the turn occurs from same edge to same edge. The turn continues on a different curve. The body rotation is in the same direction as the natural progress causing the cusp to point toward the center of curvature of the first lobe.
Swing Rocker or Counter
A type of rocker or counter in which the free foot swings smoothly past close to the skating foot before the turn and after the turn is either moved past the skating foot and held behind over the tracing or allowed to swing forward.
Twizzle – A traveling turn on one foot with one or more rotations which is quickly executed. The turn may rotate in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. The weight remains on the skating foot with the free foot close beside it ready to skate the exit edge which is stepped closely beside the skating foot. This turn is skated separately by one or both partners. A series of three turns is not acceptable as this does not constitute a single action.
Series of Synchronized Twizzles – at least two twizzles for each partner with up to 3 small steps between. Each twizzle shall be at least one rotation on one foot performed simultaneously by both partners. Examples:
side by side in the same direction (matching)
side by side in opposite direction (mirror)
following one another (one skating forward and/or backward and the other skating forward and/or backward)
Pirouette – A spinning movement performed on one foot on the spot
Other Footwork Elements
Figure skating steps include other skills skills that can contribute to forming footwork sequences.
Cross Over Step
A step started with the feet crossed so that the impetus or power is gained from the outside edge of the foot that is becoming the free foot. Note – the legs cross above the knees.
A step in which the free foot is placed on the skating surface on the outer edge side of the skating foot with the free leg crossed in front of the skating leg. Note – the legs cross below the knees.
A step in which the free foot is place on the skating surface on the outer edge side of the skating foot with the free leg crossed behind the skating leg. Note – the legs cross below the knees.
A raised chasse is an ice dance step where a skater first strokes and extends. Then, the skater brings the feet together and lifts the other skate slightly off the ice.
Slip or Cut Step
A step skated in a straight line with the blades of both skates being held flat on the ice. The weight is over the skating leg which has a well bend knee while the free foot slides forward on the ice to full extension.
A step where the skater steps from one to the other without jumping.
Progressives are essentially crossovers performed to a musical beat. In contrast to garden-variety forward crossovers, the crossing foot takes the ice alongside the skating foot and skims the ice as it crosses.
A short or long, forward or backward edge, which curves in the opposite direction to the preceding edge thus creating the rolling movement that gives the step its name.
A roll held for several beats of music during which, when skating backward, the free leg first swings forward, then backward to the skating foot to be placed on the ice beside the skating foot. (When skating forward, the free leg first swings backward, then forward.)
A roll started forward with the feet crossed in front or backward with the feet crossed behind. The impetus is gained from the outside edge of the skating foot as it become the free foot. Cross rolls are performed when the feet cross over as the skater skates in a serpentine shape.
A step sequence is a combination of turns, steps, edge work. These combinations are similar to what you find in moves in the field, A footwork sequence can be just a few steps and turns between jumps, or they can run the entire length of the surface.
Serpentine and Moves in the Field - Using the Connecting Elements
Without strong connecting elements, jumps and spins are just isolated elements. Serpentine footwork acts importantly as a connecting interface in between jumps and spins. The video clips below show how the skater manipulates the change of edge and position of body in order to complete a complicated serpentine combination.